The aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman in the Atlantic Ocean on Dec. 9, 2012.
(Photo: U.S. Navy via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON -- Automatic federal budget cuts slated to begin March 1 will prevent the USS Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier battle group from sailing to the Persian Gulf, according to senior military officials.
The spending cut process known as sequestration would force the Pentagon to cut $500 billion from its budget over the next 10 years.
There have been two carrier groups in the Gulf for most of the last two years. The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower returned in December for maintenance.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told USA TODAY last week that the cuts "will create a critical readiness crisis in the military."
The Pentagon, bracing for a budget shortfall of $46 billion this year, will also recommend that pay raises for military personnel be reduced from 1.7% to 1%, according to a senior Defense official who was not authorized to speak publicly about the decision.
Tom Vanden Brook, USA TODAY